Lazard Hires Citigroup's Orszag for Mergers, Acquisitions

  • CEO Jacobs cites expertise in finance, public policy
  • Orszag previously worked with Presidents Obama, Clinton

Lazard Ltd., the largest independent investment bank, hired Citigroup Inc.’s Peter Orszag to advise on mergers and acquisitions.

Orszag, who was previously the director of the Office of Management and Budget in President Barack Obama’s administration, will be a managing director and vice chairman of investment banking, Lazard said Wednesday in a statement. Orszag will be based in New York and start in May.

Lazard has worked on many of last year’s largest takeovers and advises nations with troubled finances, such as Ukraine and Greece. Orszag, a former special assistant to President Bill Clinton for economic policy, has known a number of the investment bank’s senior leaders for years, according to a person familiar with the firm who asked not to be identified discussing the hiring. That includes Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Jacobs and Vernon Jordan, a senior managing director who is a confidant to Clinton.

“Peter is one of the most respected economic advisers on the world stage,” Jacobs said in the statement. “His expertise in finance, capital markets and public policy across industry sectors will be invaluable.”

Aetna Deal

Orszag and Jacobs’s firm have been in talks for six to eight months, and they worked together when Citigroup and Lazard both advised Aetna Inc. on its deal to acquire Humana Inc., the person said. Orszag will mostly work with corporate clients in all industries, and his strength is health care and industrial deals, the person said.

He has been at Citigroup for about five years and was vice chairman of corporate and investment banking, according to the statement. Stephen Volk, Citigroup’s chairman of the institutional clients group, thanked Orszag for his contributions in an e-mail to employees, without naming his replacement. The memo was obtained by Bloomberg News, and confirmed by Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a spokeswoman, who declined to comment further.

Orszag is a graduate of Princeton University and has a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics, according to Lazard’s statement. He also is a columnist for Bloomberg View.

“Lazard occupies a unique position in global investment banking as a trusted adviser to leaders of business and government worldwide,” Orszag said in the statement.

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